Low testosterone, or low-T, has become somewhat of an epidemic. Now more than ever, men in their 30s, 40s and 50s are coming to their doctors with questions about low-T. As it becomes more common, more men are made aware of it, worry about it, and more people bring it up. As with anything medical, the prescription drug industry has swayed many doctors and patients alike. Testosterone shots or pills seem like a quick and easy fix. In some cases, where other medical issues can cause low-T, this is an optimal solution. But for many, it’s something in their diet that causes low testosterone. In these cases, it’s far better to resolve low-T at the source of the problem rather than cover it up with medication. Either way, it’s important to learn the basics about testosterone and how it affects you.
Testosterone is the hormone responsible for giving men their physical, masculine features. It puts hair on their chest, a deep tone in their voice, and a force behind their sex drive. Testosterone shows up during puberty, and is meant to hang around until old age, where it gradually dwindles. Testosterone levels should naturally decrease slowly. If a man is experiencing side effects of low-T, then their levels are generally decreasing at an abnormally quick rate. Common symptoms of low-T include fatigue, weakness, depression and loss of sex drive.
Foods Causing Low Testosterone
One of the most prominent dietary ingredients that causes low testosterone are refined carbs. Processed carbs show up all over the place. It is also present in cereals, pastas, breads, granola bars, sugary treats and more. Excessive refined carbs are bad for the human body. It can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar and an elevation of insulin levels. For men concerned about their testosterone levels, this is bad news. High levels of insulin secretion causes a disruption in the central hormone pathways, which translates to lower testosterone levels.
Another food that contributes to the low-T epidemic is meat with added hormones. Lots of big companies add hormones to their livestock to force their animals to grow bigger quicker. For them, this means more money. For those of us consuming the stuff, it can mean an unnatural influence on our own hormonal balance. In a similar vein, xenoestrogens, artificial compounds found to imitate estrogen, are frequently found in industrial compounds. For example, phthalates and BPAs, both widespread in plastics that we use everyday, contain xenoestrogens. Like the added hormones in meats, these affect our natural hormone levels. My diet sucks… what can I do?
Physical Ailments Causes Low-T
As mentioned earlier, some physical ailments can be the cause of low-T. Stress causes low testosterone for many. On a more serious note, an injury to the testicles, testicular cancer or treatment for such, liver or kidney diseases, obesity or HIV/AIDS can all be the reason behind low testosterone. For this reason, it’s a good idea to get a professional check your levels. Normal levels are roughly 300-800 nanograms per deciliter. If you’re below this range, then there’s a good chance it’s your diet. But there’s also a slight chance it’s something else physical that should be treated.